Don’t Feed the Trolls, It Could Cost You Your Bitcoin

December 13, 2018
James Hall


Don’t Feed the Trolls, It Could Cost You Your Bitcoin

Scammers are constantly attempting to stay ahead of the curve in order to steal from you. Their latest criminal scam might surprise you, especially if you fall victim to it. Impersonating someone close to a target, criminals will post lies online and extort the targeted individual for bitcoin in order to make it stop. While numerous law enforcement entities are aware of the latest scam, most everyday individuals are not. Here’s what they are doing and the best way to limit yourself from becoming a target.

This is a relatively new phenomenon in the criminal scamming world. This scheme centers around spreading comments on social media with false material crafted to seem legitimate. The accounts will impersonate someone close to a target in order to increase the impact it has on the victims. The criminals will then demand cryptocurrency in order to make the posts stop. Many will pay the ransom but, unfortunately, this may only entice the criminals more. It is best to reach out to proper authorities and the social media platform support team.

This tactic is especially egregious as it uses criminal impersonation of individuals close to a target in order to extort them for bitcoin. The dual victimization tactic they employ has caught the attention of several law enforcement entities. Currently, local and federal law enforcement entities are working in cooperation to bring these criminals to justice. Sources say authorities are active in pursuing a number of these complaints.

So how can you protect yourself before the law catches up to these criminals?

Speaking with CNBC, Google’s email security lead Mark Risher goes into detail about protecting yourself in this digital age.

“It could just be a case of mistaken identity or guilt by association. They could be using someone who seems to be low value to pivot toward somebody considered a higher value target, like somebody political in nature,” he told CNBC. “Or maybe they saw that you were discussing Bitcoin on a public message board.”

Risher goes on to describe how bragging about bitcoin or other cryptocurrency holdings online could be the spark to scammers targeting you. As he describes, the litany of personal information online allows them to attack you in ways that personally pertain to you.

Unfortunately, the information you post online and who you engage with could lead to negative outcomes. If you have bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, be aware that this new and aggressive scamming tactic is the latest to be deployed. Until authorities bring these criminals to justice, consider limiting the information and interactions you choose to have online.